Students who are mothers face challenges TSTC’s Advocacy and Resource Centers can help address
(ROSENBERG, Texas) – In Texas, the average annual cost of infant care is $9,324, according to the Economic Policy Institute. With the price of other necessities also on the rise, Texas State Technical College’s Advocacy and Resource Centers (ARCs) at campuses across the state are working to remove barriers for mothers who are attempting to get their technical education while raising their children.
“Mothers who have decided to attend TSTC to pursue their career choice sit in my office asking for help with child care,” said Larissa Moreno, an Advocacy and Resource Center coach at TSTC’s campus in Fort Bend County. “The Advocacy and Resource Center offers child care assistance to students who qualify. We also work with local and statewide organizations that can be beneficial for the family.”
This could take the form of resource fairs on campus that highlight community initiatives for low-cost health insurance, secondhand clothing and more.
The goal is to help eliminate some of the most common challenges that can keep mothers — and any TSTC student with children — from focusing on their studies, graduating, and getting placed in a good-paying job that can lift their family economically.
“Especially with food prices increasing and now baby formula being low in stock, the ARC provides on-campus food pantries where students can ‘shop’ for snacks, groceries, diapers and wipes,” Moreno added.
Other resources include counseling, private spaces for breastfeeding and diaper changes, and opportunities to learn about budgeting and time management.
“The ARC is a safe place for all students to visit when they need help or just to talk things through,” Moreno said. “It is our purpose to do whatever it takes to help our students succeed.”
Belinda Palomino, TSTC Advocacy and Resource Center coordinator and state lead, recognizes the issues that students who are mothers often face. The vision behind the ARC’s offerings is to support these students so that they can improve their lives — and the lives of their families.
“At TSTC, we practice a culture of caring,” Palomino said. “We believe that every student should have access and opportunity to reach their academic and career goals without worrying about basic needs.”
For mothers who are prospective students, Moreno has a message.
“You can do it,” she said. “If you have questions or need more information, visit us.”
“We believe in you,” she said. “Being a mother takes hard work, dedication, commitment, and the ability to balance multiple things at once with the utmost care. Those are all of the qualities that make a fantastic and well-rounded TSTC student.”
Registration for the summer and fall semesters is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.